NNSA's Accident Response Group (ARG) provides technical guidance and responds to U.S. nuclear weapons accidents. The team assists in assessing weapons damage and risk, and in developing and implementing procedures for safe weapon recovery, packaging, transportation, and disposal of damaged weapons. The ARG headquarters is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico and is supported by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Remote Sensing Laboratory (RSL), and Pantex Plant.
The mission of the ARG is to maintain readiness to respond and manage the resolution of accidents, or incidents of significance involving nuclear weapons. The ARG staff includes scientists, engineers, technicians, health physics and safety specialist from NNSA's and the Department of Energy's national laboratories. The Phase I team can respond within four hours of notification, and deploy with highly specialized state-of-the-art equipment for use in monitoring, assessing, and removing nuclear weapons, and their components.
Steps in the ARG Response
If an accident or incident involving a U.S. nuclear weapon occurs, all appropriate federal, state, tribal, and local organizations are notified of the accident. The NNSA and Department of Defense (DoD) work as a team throughout the entire response.
However, once the weapon has been safely removed from the site, NNSA's role turns to monitoring and assessment activities, which are conducted by other NNSA assets to include: the Aerial Measuring System (AMS), the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC), the Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center (FRMAC), Radiological Assistance Program (RAP), and the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center / Training Site (REAC/TS).
The ARG's capabilities are provided in a time-phased approach:
Additionally, the ARG communicates with the ARG home team, which is designed to support NNSA with resources and technical expertise from the national laboratories.